Eastern Libya's self-declared government forms regional oil company in challenge to Tripoli

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The leaders of a movement for self-rule in oil-rich in eastern Libya say they have formed a regional oil company to handle its sales of crude, in one of the most serious challenges yet to the central government.

The movement had already set up a shadow government, complaining of central authorities neglect. Along with local tribes demanding better pay and more political rights, it has effectively halted exports from the region's main oil terminals since summer, blocking a critical government revenue source.

Prime Minister Ali Zidan had said the groups must stop their blockade by Nov. 20, but didn't speak of any consequences.

Abd-Rabbo al-Barassi, the head of the newly declared Barqa government, said late Sunday the regional oil company would be temporarily based in Tobruk, before moving to Benghazi.